Robin Amster | August 25, 2016 4:28 PM ET
Pardon the Disruption
Talk of “disruptors” has now become standard in the travel industry; it’s a subject at industry events, written about in both the consumer and the trade press, mulled over by industry analysts, studied by research firms.
The word “Disruptor” has gotten almost as annoying as “Millennial.” I’m speaking for myself but it looks like I’m not alone. No less a figure than Matthew Upchurch, chairman and CEO of the luxury travel network Virtuoso, said during the recent Virtuoso Travel Week that he’s just a tad tired of hearing about disruptors. Maybe more than a tad.
Still, I find one, um, “disruptor,” Airbnb, particularly interesting, and way more so now that it’s spawned at least one challenger to Airbnb’s disruption of the hotel business. That would be onefinestay, the London-based alternative accommodations company that was acquired this spring by AccorHotels, the French multinational hotels group.
Personally, I love hotels; well mostly luxury hotels and resorts but I’m good with the less than deluxe versions also. I like just about everything about the hotel experience and that actually includes the impersonal aspect of not staying at home—and not staying in someone else’s home!
But then I’m not a Millennial, another word that’s become really annoying—my guess is, also to Millennials themselves.
Onefinestay just announced plans to launch in Miami, which will be the third market behind New York and Los Angeles in its U.S. portfolio and the sixth city globally. The company offers travelers stays in private homes but with a different twist, it says, from Airbnb.
It calls itself a “full-service, high-end hospitality company” and it distinguishes itself from Airbnb by several features. It offers 24/7 guest services throughout travelers’ stays; meet and greeters meet guests on arrival to check them in and show them how to use the home’s appliances; maid service is available; each home offers clean sheets, towels and toiletries on arrival; guests receive an iPhone with local data they can use throughout their stay.
The company says its homes are vetted according to 132 hospitality standards with four people visiting each home before it becomes part of the company’s collection.
And, onefinestay homes can be sold through travel agents; the company has a commission structure in place and is now a preferred supplier with both Virtuoso and the Signature Travel Network.
Does onefinestay then represent the proverbial “best of both worlds” for travelers seeking a lot less disruption?
It will be interesting to see if that’ll be the case. It’ll also be fun to watch the lodging industry—which is never at a loss for creativity—for, not only new disruptors to come on the scene, but for new less-disrupting disruptors.
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